A bespoke entity created under a specific piece of NSW legislation, the Nature Conservation Trust was established as an independent statutory body corporate, that also operated as a nonprofit organisation with deductible gift recipient status for tax purposes, pursuing objects in relation to nature conservation on private land.
When engaging ThinkEvans in 2016, the NCT was anticipating significant structural change, prompted by a change of direction for the organisation’s objects. A major review by an independent expert panel had made recommendations to government, including that a larger entity be created – by broadening the NCT’s scope and expanding its remit to biodiversity more generally. This had culminated in a draft Bill to that effect being considered by the NSW Parliament. However, subsequent to the completion of community consultation on that draft Bill, the Bill put before the NSW Parliament was fundamentally changed – to instead create an organisation within the relevant Department of the NSW Government, folding into that office all related functions from the NCT and others previously charged with various responsibilities connected to biodiversity.
Thus the NCT had a significant corner to turn in 2017, in order to fulfil their part of the profound changes necessary to implement the Act as passed. Accordingly, up until its sunset clause operated in August 2017, ThinkEvans assisted the Board and Chief Executive to work through a very complex set of legislative imperatives so that the organisation could bring to fruition the extensive change mandated by legislation, while duly respecting their extant governance obligations. For example, one paper prepared by ThinkEvans was only two pages, but addressed eight pieces of legislation and the Australian Constitution, before making recommendations based on both those legal premises and showing due fidelity to the trust vested in the NCT as an organisation funded by the public purse.